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New Online Reporting System on State STEM Assessment Policies

Guest Blogger: Rolf Blank
Thursday, February 9, 2017

As the project director for NORC at the University of Chicago, I’m excited to announce the launch of our online reporting tool, “State Policies for Science and Mathematics Assessment: Implementation of STEM K–12 Education Indicators” which we developed with state education leaders and support from the National Science Foundation.  Similar to C-SAIL’s interactive maps, the online tool provides annual updates of changes in state policies, including standards alignment, but focuses on STEM. 

NORC’s work with C-SAIL on student assessments is a part of the NSF’s renewed focus on improving indicators of the quality of K-12 STEM education. A key issue in designing the NORC online system was how to report across the states on the alignment of assessments to college- and career-readiness standards.  NORC incorporated research conducted by C-SAIL to provide a consistent measure of assessment-to-standards alignment.  C-SAIL conducted data collection with all 50 states to identify content alignment studies that were conducted in mathematics. This state-specific information is a key measure being reported on the NORC website. 

How have the Common Core Standards in Mathematics and the Next Generation Science Standards affected student assessments administered by states?

Over the next two years, NORC will continue to build the 50-state reporting system, and additional measures will be incorporated to improve the usefulness of information for state and local education leaders, STEM educators, and education policy researchers. Visitors can quickly access several big-picture indicators of math and science assessment policies and find more details about new developments in assessment design and content as well as how results are reported by states.

The tool helps visitors answer the following questions:

  • What types of assessment items or tasks (e.g., constructed response, performance tasks, multiple-choice, hands-on) are found in state-administered assessments?
  • How have the Common Core Standards in Mathematics and the Next Generation Science Standards affected student assessments administered by states?
  • Which states are supporting and leading the use of classroom, formative assessments?
  • How are state assessment policies changing under ESSA? How do they differ from state to state?

Prior to the current effort by NORC under the NSF grant, state-by-state reporting on student assessment programs have been limited to information on subject, grade, and assessment instrument. This new online reporting system provides information on the different types and uses of assessments, assessment designs, mode of administration, methods of reporting results, and measures of content alignment to standards. The rich, detailed information provides an important resource for sharing key information on assessment development and improvement across the states.

To obtain more information about the new website development, contact Rolf Blank, Project Director at